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Anthony Burgess, was an English writer and composer. Although Burgess was predominantly a comic writer, his dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange remains his best-known novel. Burgess was born at 91 Carisbrook Street in Harpurhey, a suburb of Manchester, England, to Catholic parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Wilson. 30 at home on 19 November 1918, during the 1918 flu pandemic. The causes listed on her death certificate were influenza, acute pneumonia, and cardiac failure. His sister Muriel had died four days earlier on 15 November from influenza, broncho-pneumonia, and cardiac failure, aged eight.
After the death of his mother, Burgess was raised by his maternal aunt, Ann Bromley, in Crumpsall with her two daughters. During this time, Burgess’s father worked as a bookkeeper for a beef market by day, and in the evening played piano at a public house in Miles Platting. I was either distractedly persecuted or ignored. Ragged boys in gangs would pounce on the well-dressed like myself. Edmund’s Elementary School before moving on to Bishop Bilsborrow Memorial Elementary School, both Catholic schools, in Moss Side. When I went to school I was able to read.
At the Manchester elementary school I attended, most of the children could not read, so I was a little apart, rather different from the rest. As a young child, Burgess did not care about music, until he heard on his home-built radio «a quite incredible flute solo», which he characterised as «sinuous, exotic, erotic», and became spellbound. Burgess had originally hoped to study music at university, but the music department at the Victoria University of Manchester turned down his application because of poor grades in physics. Instead, he studied English language and literature there between 1937 and 1940, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts.
Bright ideas insufficient to conceal lack of knowledge. Burgess met Llewela «Lynne» Isherwood Jones at the University where she was studying economics, politics and modern history, graduating in 1942 with an upper second-class. She reportedly claimed to be a distant relative of Christopher Isherwood, although the Lewis and Biswell biographies dispute this. Burgess spent six weeks in 1940 as an army recruit in Eskbank before becoming a Nursing Orderly Class 3 in the Royal Army Medical Corps. During his service he was unpopular and was involved in incidents such as knocking off a corporal’s cap and polishing the floor of a corridor to make people slip. Burgess left the army in 1946 with the rank of sergeant-major and was for the next four years a lecturer in speech and drama at the Mid-West School of Education near Wolverhampton and at the Bamber Bridge Emergency Teacher Training College near Preston. In addition to his teaching duties he supervised sports and ran the school’s drama society.
He organised a number of amateur theatrical events in his spare time. With financial assistance provided by Lynne’s father the couple were able to put a down payment on a cottage in the village of Adderbury, close to Banbury. He named the cottage «Little Gidding» after one of Eliot’s Four Quartets. In 1954, Burgess joined the British Colonial Service as a teacher and education officer in Malaya, initially stationed at Kuala Kangsar in Perak. Burgess and his wife had occupied a noisy apartment where privacy was minimal, and this caused resentment. Following a dispute with the Malay College’s principal about this, Burgess was reposted to the Malay Essay on my hobby reading books in urdu’ Training College at Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Burgess was an education officer at the Malay Teachers’ Training College 1955 and 1958.
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After a brief period of leave in Britain during 1958, Burgess took up a further Eastern post, this time at the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin College in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Brunei had been a British protectorate since 1888, and was not to achieve independence until 1984. This novel was, is, about Brunei, which was renamed Naraka, Malay-Sanskrit for ‘hell. Little invention was needed to contrive a large cast of unbelievable characters and a number of interwoven plots. Though completed in 1958, the work was not published until 1961, for what it was worth it was made a choice of the book society.
About this time Burgess collapsed in a Brunei classroom while teaching history and was diagnosed as having an inoperable brain tumour. Burgess was given just a year to live, prompting him to write several novels to get money to provide for his widow. Asian climate, of chronic constipation, and of overwork and professional disappointment. As he put it, the scions of the sultans and of the élite in Brunei «did not wish to be taught», because the free-flowing abundance of oil guaranteed their income and privileged status.
Burgess was invalided home in 1959 and relieved of his position in Brunei. A sea voyage the couple took with the Baltic Line from Tilbury to Leningrad in June 1961 resulted in the novel Honey for the Bears. Liliana Macellari, an Italian translator twelve years younger than Burgess, came across his novels Inside Mr. Enderby and A Clockwork Orange, while writing about English fiction. Lynne Burgess died from cirrhosis of the liver, on 20 March 1968. Six months later, in September 1968, Burgess married Liana, acknowledging her four-year-old boy as his own, although the birth certificate listed Roy Halliday, Liana’s former partner, as the father. Appearing on British television discussion programme After Dark ‘What is Sex For?
Catholic and Monarchist, harbouring a distaste for all republics. The couple also had a villa in Provence, in Callian, Var, France. At City College he was a close colleague and friend of Joseph Heller. In May 1988, Burgess made an extended appearance with among others Andrea Dworkin on the episode What Is Sex For? To destroy, wantonly, such a relationship, is like destroying a whole civilisation.
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